HC Deb 16 May 1960 vol 623 cc894-5
9. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the policy of Her Majesty's Government is still based on the assumption that it is practicable to control and eliminate all stocks of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as part of an agreement for general and comprehensive disarmament.

Mr. Profumo

The policy of Her Majesty's Government has never been based on such an assumption. There is at present no means, as my right hon. and learned Friend told the House on 29th October last year, of guaranteeing the discovery of nuclear weapons. What could be done is to stop their production and to eliminate their means of delivery. We propose that there should be additional measures to convert fissile material to peaceful uses and eliminate stocks of weapons, but this final measure cannot, according to present scientific knowledge, be effectively verified.

Mr. A. Henderson

Does the Minister of State's reply mean that, provided that the proposed disarmament control and inspection authority is given adequate powers, there is no fundamental difficulty standing in the way of achieving a comprehensive and general disarmament agreement?

Mr. Profumo

Generally speaking, I hope that that is true.